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School Board Narrowly Approves Opening of Fifth Junior High

Murphy Junior High should ease overcrowding at Bednarcik and Traughber junior highs.

The School Board voted Monday night to open Murphy Junior High School in Plainfield for the 2012-13 school year.

Board members Laurie Pasteris, Alison Swanson and Bill Walsh voted no after hearing from parents, students and members of the district’s boundary committee in about an hour of public comment.

Lisa Udy, a parent and boundary committee member, approached the board early in the hour, saying that if the district has money to spend on optional programs such as industrial arts at the junior highs and Dual Language, it should have the money to ease overcrowding. She said there are cuts that could be made elsewhere.

“The Dual Language program is a luxury program and could be put on hold,” Udy said.

Where hypothetical cuts could be made throughout the district to help fund the approximate $800,000 to open Murphy revealed a division among boundary committee members when Luis Perez also spoke during public comment.

“Dual Language is a value-added program for the long-term success of the district,” he said. “… This is the No. 1 way to bring our students to English proficiency.”

At least one other boundary committee member also did not agree with the majority of his fellow members regarding the opening of Murphy. Patrick Mackey asked the board to delay the opening until some of the empty homes in the community are sold and a need is more clear.

“There are a lot questions that are yet to be answered that another year would give us (the opportunity to study,)” he said.

, the boundary committee called on the board for a vote Monday night. Former school board and committee member John Graff read the letter aloud to the board.

Keeping Murphy closed would have put Bednarcik Junior High at 150 students over its capacity next year with projected at slightly over its capacity, Graff said.

Walsh, Pasteris, and Swanson asked several questions of Assistant Superintendent Todd Colvin regarding specific boundary decisions surrounding the opening of Murphy. Board member Mike Scaramuzzi said it was important for the board to allow the committee to make its boundary recommendations and to focus solely Monday night on whether to open Murphy.

The boundary committee will meet again Tuesday night and should begin the work redrawing the school boundaries with a goal of presenting options to the board in February. An opened Murphy will be included in those new boundaries.

hp January 26, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Regarding the proposed boundaries....I could not read the tiny maps in the January 3rd "Boundary Presentation"....Can anyone confirm whether any current Traughber 8th graders will be sent to OEHS (Future Panther Night is tonight...would be nice to know if this even matters)? Also there is much talk about current Hunt Club 5th graders going to Murphy...I also heard some being sent to Thompson. I live just south of Plainfield Road in unincorporated Oswego (far from Thompson (and far from Hunt Club as well, but I won't get started on that)). I will seek clarification at the board meeting on Tuesday, but thought someone might be able to shed light on this. Thank you.
Katra Knoernschild January 26, 2012 at 04:59 PM
HP - There are no final recommendations yet. However, from our PCC Mtg last night and the Boundary mtg on Tuesday, the following information was shared: There will be a Public Forum where the committee will present it's Proposed Boundary, with alternatives. This will take place on Feburary 8th, 7PM at the OEHS Performing Arts Center. That meeting will consist of a Presentation, followed by a Public Feedback session. The committee will review public feedback prior to presenting to the board. On February 13th, the Boundary Committee will present their Final Recommendation to the School Board. Board Meetings always provide the opportunity for public comment. It would be best to attend Boundary Presentation, so that you have any necessary notes available, prior to speaking before the board. You will also know, first hand, the extensive limitations, rules and thought process that went in to their decisions by doing so.
Alette Anderson January 26, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I just went to the district's site and clicked on Boundaries. Then went to the wiki site listed there. It has the three possible scenarios listed and can read it clearly. Hope this helps.
hp January 26, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Hi Katra and Alette-Thank you very much for the information...I will attend the February 8th meeting and try the wiki site.
ayar January 26, 2012 at 07:32 PM
You have a point, David, but just Spanish isn't enough. Who has our money: Let's talk about Mandarin Chinese [the holders of our loans in the GLOBAL economy,] and possibly Hindi [our computer based businesses use a lot of it], maybe German [the healthiest country in the Eurpean union]. Like you said, this is 2012, not 1776....

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